|Apr/May 2009 Poetry Special Feature
A cut opened on the earthwork to archaeology of wire,
varnished wood, patterned paper on brittle plaster.
Trowels rasped on ostracons of plastic and potsherds
of bakelite, snagged on tatters of carpet and curtain.
Sockets without circuits, switches without contact
were scraped, brushed, photographed and measured.
From a hoard of lost effects, an account evolved
of industry's happenstance, incident's accretion,
obituary's accrual into legacy: the whip of a broken cable,
a blaze in a warehouse, the fall of a propped roof.
Layer and residue disclosed the history of how the end came,
and spread, threatening the town street to street,
as lichen creeps, and brick turns friable. Afterwards,
they'd tell how passers-by here cast faint shadows,
lamps shed little light; how there were no reflections
in the standing water, and the sky was empty of stars.